West Duluth Posts

The Rentola

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Here are two historic photos of the Rentola, a Finnish boarding house at 4 N. 59th Ave. W., in West Duluth. The top photo is from Karl Hagglund, whose grandmother was a maid at the Rentola. The next photo is from 1961, courtesy of the Northeast Minnesota Historical Center. So the story goes, there was an old steam house nearby where Rentola residents took saunas.

You would like it in the Northern Plains: Duluth, Minnesota

This ad for Northern Natural Gas Company ran in Time magazine on Sept. 17, 1965. Hats off to Susie LeGarde Menz for the find.

Cormier Dry Goods of West Duluth

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Left:
Cormier Dry Goods, 6227 Grand Ave., West Duluth, in 1907.
(Northeast Minnesota Historical Center photo.)

Right:
The same building in 2010, now entirely apartments.
(Perfect Duluth Day photo.)

Cormier Dry Goods stayed in business well into the 1930s. Gustave Cormier was the proprietor and lived upstairs. By the mid-1930s, J.A. Lundeen’s shoe store shared the building.

Duluth Turban Lady, 1997

In 1994 I worked for six months at the Holiday Stationstore at 3401 Grand Ave., next to Wheeler Fields. The store closed around 2003 and the building is empty now. As you can imagine, there were a number of characters that frequented the store. One of them we called Turban Lady.

The Life and Brawls of Thomas Madden — former chief of West Duluth Police, saloon keeper and old fashioned thug

This post is a follow up to the post requesting information about Duluth’s old bowery district. The focus here is on Tom Madden, who managed to find himself in the news a lot. Set the Wayback Machine for 1891 and we’ll go in chronological order from there.

Dec. 13, 1891 | Duluth News Tribune

WILL IT BE MURDER?
——————————
Patrick Mulligan May Die From Injuries Received From Chief Madden.

Patrick Mulligan, who runs the “Little Diamond saloon on Central avenue, and who had his jaw broken a few days ago at the brickyard bagnio by a blow from ex Chief of Police Madden, was taken yesterday to St. Mary’s hospital, where he is now hovering between life and death. His jaw was set by Dr. Magie a day or two ago, but serious inflammation has set in, and the doctor said yesterday it would probably be necessary to put a silver tube in his throat to enable him to breathe. His case is a very serious one and the chances are even between life and death.

Willie the cop gets his badge pinned to his ass on Raleigh Street

One of the stories that has long been passed around West Duluth is that, many years ago, perhaps the 1920s, some guys from the ol’ Raleigh Street Gang handcuffed a cop to a pole or a post and pinned his badge to his ass.

Graffiti Timeline

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I recently came across this photograph of myself observing graffiti at an I-35 underpass in West Duluth, probably from 1997 or 1998. So I went back and rephotographed the spot to show how the graffiti has changed.

G.B. Schneider & Co. open in West Duluth

G.B. Schneider Co. opened on Tuesday in the Denfeld Retail Center. It’s in the space formerly occupied by Grandma’s Grand Ave. Cafe. The focus is on comfort foods: ravioli, pot roast, meatloaf, etc.

Video Archive: A Sunday Afternoon Walk on Central Avenue in West Duluth, circa 1940

This is the Helgeson family after church services on a Sunday in roughly 1940. They lived at 911 Central Ave. The parents are George and Rose. Their sons are G. Lewis, Robert, John and Paul.

Duluth’s Oneota Football Squad – 1915

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I’m not sure if these are junior high students from Oneota School or if they are high school kids and this is a community team for the Oneota neighborhood (part of West Duluth). Denfeld didn’t have an official football team until 1917.

I don’t know the names of any of the players, except the guy sitting cross-legged in the middle — he’s my great uncle, Sam Brassard. (Yep, Uncle Sam.)

Zayre Shoppers’ City Discount Department Store in West Duluth

The West Duluth Memories page on Facebook has a bunch of old West Duluth photos, including some of Shoppers’ City, posted by Roger Nesje.

It’s hard to watch a house come down

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This house at 738 N. Central Ave. in West Duluth was ripped down yesterday to make way for the new Laura MacArthur Elementary School. I think the new school will be great, and I have no particular reason to be sentimental about this house or any of the others on the block, but there’s something that punches me in the gut when I watch a house get smashed to bits.

Last Look at Three West Duluth Structures

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Anticipating the demolition of the Duluth Motel and Star Enterprises in West Duluth, I took a few photos two weeks ago. Both buildings are rubble now.

Happy 100th, West Duluth Masonic Temple

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Euclid Masonic Lodge 198 was dedicated on March 31, 1909. State Grand Master Eugene Swan presided over the services. About 800 people attended.

One hundred years later, it appears vacant and up for sale. The location is 611 N. Central Ave.

Petus Rockus

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Petus Rockus. This rock was found in Keene Creek, left here by the Wisconsin Glacier 23,648 years ago. Placed on this stand May 1985 by Ken Seehus.

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